More to Mexico than beaches: San Sebastián del Oeste Jalisco Mexico


If you are looking for a weekend away from the beach and the sea and find it interesting to explore the mountains, valleys, rivers and beautiful landscapes of Jalisco, we can recommend visiting the picturesque mountain villages near Puerto Vallarta, San Sebastian del Oeste. 75 Kilometers is one of the best options.

  • San Sebastián del Oeste is a town and municipality.
  • It was founded on January 20, 1605.
  • Location: western part of Jalisco, Mexico.
  • Coordinates: 20 ° 45’30 “N – 104 ° 51’30” W
  • At 1,480 meters (4,856 feet) above sea level.

San Sebastián del Oeste is a village formed mainly by ancient haciendas and centuries-old houses that have gracefully aged together

with the abandoned mines and the fields that surround it, full of a silent and valuable legacy of tradition and history.

In its glorious past it was a mining town of silver and gold, very prosperous and self-sustained, at its peak with four times the population it has today.

You can get to San Sebastian by air and you will arrive at the small airstrip located on the outskirts of the town, which offers daily service from Puerto Vallarta. On the flight, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the hills and forests of the Sierra Madre.

When you see it on a map, the town may seem hidden and inaccessible, in fact, it was a much more complicated trip a few years ago, at present, it is a place that you should definitely not miss. After crossing several narrow passages in the mountains you will feel a real sensation of reaching the finish line when you reach this town in the heart of the Sierra.

In 1785 there were 10 Haciendas with reducing plants of gold and silver and about 30 mines in the area, the town became a city in 1812 and reached its maximum glory in 1830. The mines stopped working during the revolution of 1910 and the companies foreigners moved to other places. The last mine stopped working in 1921 and the town went into oblivion.

In fact, it was the mines of the towns and cities of the Sierra that created the need for Las Peñas, (named after the rocks that are now known as Los Arcos). In 1851, the small town was the starting point for what would later become Puerto Vallarta, providing salt that was used in the process of smelting in the mines and was taken to the mining towns of the Sierra on the back of a mule.

At the beginning of the 20th century the mines were depleted and the city lost its precious metal shine, and the city entered a “Time Tunnel”, and this is actually one of its main attractions.

According to figures from the 2010 census, the municipality of San Sebastian has 5,755 inhabitants. It was a mining town a few centuries ago and in its

At its height, it had more than 20,000 inhabitants, but with the closure of most of the mines, the population decreased towards the end of the 19th century.

On the outskirts of the town, you can visit many old haciendas, some of which are now in ruins, like La Máquina, while others are meticulously restored to their former splendor as La Quinta, which continues proudly producing organic coffee.

Other haciendas that have been wonderfully restored are La Galera, Hacienda San José (with its unique palm tree and out of place in the mountains) or Hacienda Jalisco.

Hacienda Jalisco is located right at the main entrance to the town, just behind the airstrip, crossing fields that look like stories.

Fairy, with blue agave plants that are used to make the famous Tequila.

The panoramic view from the Bufa is really impressive … on a clear day you can see all the way to Vallarta and the waters of the Pacific Ocean, to get there you need a 4-wheel drive vehicle and about 45 minutes, but it’s worth pain

There are other options

to walk in the surroundings, as for example the road that takes it to the Kings, a small village whose antiquated streets remember what San Sebastian was until very recently.


Hacienda Jalisco: One of the main haciendas in the area that once controlled most of the mining that took place in the area

Church of San Sebastián: A humble village church dedicated to San Sebastián Mártir, built by Franciscan friars at the end of the 18th century.

  • Cerro de la Bufa (Viewpoint): The panoramic view from La Bufa is really impressive … on a clear day you can see the coast of Puerto Vallarta and the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Bay of Banderas. To get to La Bufa you need a four-wheel drive vehicle and it’s a journey of about 45 minutes, but it’s worth it. On the way you will find local wildlife and spectacular views and panoramas of the hills and the town.
  • La Quinta: A nineteenth-century hacienda in “La Pareja” before entering the town of San Sebastián. It offers regional organic coffee and is, fortunately, of excellent quality as well.
  • Camposanto Viejo: A cemetery dating back to the 19th century, where many well-known locals rest in peace.


You can get to this colonial city from Puerto Vallarta by car or bus (Red Line ATM), the trip takes approximately 2 hours and with local buses it will cost around 6 or 7 dollars in each section. There are no direct buses to the town, but you can take the ones that travel to Talpa de Allende that leave at the corner of Lucerna and Havre streets (see enlarging the lower map).

There are a few buses in the morning, some past noon and in the afternoon too, visit the place before your trip and see the details. Arriving at Estancia, a small town on the way to Mascota, gets off the bus. Here you can take a taxi to San Sebastian (about $ 10 each way). Check the bus schedule back to PV from La Estancia, to coordinate the return trip

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